At least three dead as Tropical Cyclone Lusi intensifies

At least three dead as Tropical Cyclone Lusi intensifies

At least three dead as Tropical Cyclone Lusi intensifies

Updated 13 March 2014, 8:25 AEDT

At least three people have been killed as Tropical Cyclone Lusi strengthened to a category three storm.

At least three people have died in Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone Lusi intensified to a category three system.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says Lusi is moving away from Vanuatu towards New Zealand.

It's expected to weaken before reaching New Zealand's north island.

The cyclone is heading south at about 20km/h, with only Vanuatu's southernmost province of Tafea under cyclone alert.

The three deaths which have been confirmed are a man in Pentecost, a boy in Santo and a woman in Malekula.

Some 40,000 people have been affected in Vanuatu.

Damage to houses and evacuation centres have been reported, while many coastal and low-lying communities have experienced flooding.

There have been reports that groundwater sources have been contaminated due to damaged water infrastructure.

In Torba Province, three houses collapsed in Gaua and flooding affected half of Vatop community in Vanua Lava.

Officials are yet to make contact with many islands in the Torres Group, including Hiu, Tegua and Toga.

In Penama Province, more than 50 people were evacuated to a church. Schools are expected to reopen soon, except in Tafea Province.

In Fiji, a cyclone gale and heavy swell warning is in force for the Yasawa and Mamanuca group, western half of Viti Levu, Kadavu and nearby small islands.

A strong wind warning is in force for the rest of Fiji.

Another weather system, ex-Tropical Cyclone Hadi, is located in the Coral Sea and being monitored.

In the Solomon Islands, a tropical cyclone and tropical disturbance watch is current for Temotu, Rennel and Bellona, Makira, Southern Guadalcanal and Malaita Provinces.

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